“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel”
In our study of the first phase, we saw that there are no accidents in the life of the child of God. Now Paul was about to demonstrate what this meant in his own life.
“have actually turned out”
The phrase “turned out” is in a tense that means the action was completed in the past with the results remaining unto the present. His imprisonment and near-death experience had a permanent effect on advancing the gospel! Man proposes, but God disposes. The best-laid plans of men are not adequate for God’s designs for the universe.
God overruled all the unfortunate events of Paul’s life. He took Paul’s imprisonment and turned it into a benefit. Souls came to personally know Jesus Christ as their Savior as a result of his incarceration.
We find this same principle in Romans 8:28: “And we know [this is often something we do not know] that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” God does not make a mistake. God is too good to do wrong and too wise to make a mistake. If we are in deep pain at present, it is no mistake. God is in control of everything. Nothing is capricious with God. He manages all things that come into our lives and works them together into a pattern that will result in “good.”
We might be disappointed with the standpoint of our personal design for life; however, from God’s purpose, He has something better in mind. God knows our plight better than we do. God knows the future. He has not chosen to reveal to us everything in that plan. He is infinite, and we are finite. Finiteness cannot fully comprehend infiniteness. We do not have to take an exam on “why” God has allowed our predicament to happen. We will take an examination of our confidence in God’s plan for our life. If we flunk it, we will have to retake the course and exam.
Man proposes plans, but God often disposes of them; a finite mind can never compete with an infinite God and His plans for man.
Are we willing to flex our lives so that we submit to God’s plan even though it might be different from ours?